DANC 104 World Dance/Local Identity - 3 credits - TTH 1:00-2:15 - Rend 227
Office Hours: RH 129 TTH 12-12:50; (208) 282-6143; garijose@isu.edu
Performance Response Guidelines
Study of dance as active agency in the preservation and transformation of cultural identity. Compares the traditional and contemporary dance cultures of Native America, Africa, Asia, the Americas, Oceania, and Europe and examines dance as efficacy and entertainment and, the body a tool of communication central to the social, political and religious life of community.


    • To provide a framework for looking at dance as cultural expression.
    • To provide a common vocabulary for describing movement.
    • To provide a safe environment for the study of cultures outside of our own.
    • To examine our preconceptions and how they effect our perception of cultural forms.
    • To examine the function of ritual dance and play within community and culture.
    • To examine dance as oral tradition, central to the communication and preservation of history, culture, mythology and religion of a people.
    • To examine vernacular forms as the assimilation of innovation which in turn transforms culture.
    • To examine syncretic forms resultant from the many diasporas throughout history.
    • To examine the impact of globalization.
    • To understand dance culture as microcosm of world culture.


The format of this class is a combination of viewing dance films and videos, readings, class lectures, group discussions. group and individual projects and writing about topics presented in class. Attendance and full participation in all activities is mandatory.


  • Some Basic Definitions
    • What is society?
    • What is culture?
    • What is identity?
    • What is dance?
  • What do you see?
    • Challenging our Perceptions
    • Us and Them - Examining the pretext of the Other
    • Objectivity, Subjectivity & Reflexivity
  • The 4 Functions of Movement
    • War and Contest
    • Work
    • Social Display
    • Worship
  • Efficacy and Entertainment
    • Rituals, rites, work and play
    • Deconstructing exoticism/realizing utilitarianism
  • A Sense of Place/Local Identity
    • Communication, Preservation and Maintenance Oral Tradition
    • Dance as active agency / the construction of culture
    • Transformation and Innovations of Vernacular Forms
  • Common Ground
    • East meets West meets North meets South, the Impact of globalization
      • Diaspora and syncretism
      • Appropriation and Cultural Imperialism
  • World Dance/Local Identity
    • Macro & Micro: Me, You, Us, Together


    The Anthropology of Dance. Anya Peterson Royce, Dance Books, LTD, 2002.

    Liberating Rites: Understanding the Transformative Power of Ritual. Tom F. Driver, BookSurge, 2006.

    Additional Reading will be provided on the Assignments page.

    You might need 7 Zip File Archiver to decompress the files. To access a free software download, go to ISU's ITS , go to Helpdesk menu on left, scroll and click on Helpdesk Toolkit. A new window will pop up: Go to Software menu on left, scroll and click on 7-Zip File Archiver. That will take you to another page. Download the appropriate version for your computer. You will see an icon on your desktop (or wherever you put the 7 Zip file). Click on that to complete the install process. You will see a new icon that will be the 7 Zip application.

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    Beyond Words: Movement Observation and Analysis. Carol-Lynne Moore & Kaoru Yamamoto; Taylor and Francis, 1988.

    Performance Studies: An Introduction-2nd edition. Richard Schechner; Routledge, 2006.

    Moving History: Dancing Cultures. Ann Dils & Ann Cooper Albright, Eds.; Wesleyan, 2001.


  • Attend each class on time, ready to work and participate fully from beginning to end. Full participation is required for full credit. Tardiness and non- or partial participation will not receive full credit.
  • Participate in discussions: creative and critical . You’re perceptions are valid and valued. As artists, we need the skills of presenting and defending our ideas through the use of thoughtful, articulate and eloquent language. Your participation in these discussions is a major component of your cummulative grade.
  • Weekly Writing Assignments. You will be given weekly writing assignments based upon the readings, discussions and videos you will see. Usually, writing prompts will be uploaded to the assignments page on by Friday and will be due the following Tuesday, but I reserve the right to make changes appropriate to the progression of the class. Have assignments completed on time. Late assignments will not be accepted. All written assignments, must by typed, 1-2 pages, single or double-spaced, unless otherwise stated. Assignments will be worth 5 points each.
  • One research paper. Due March 31.
  • Field Observation. Due April 21. Detailed description of this project will be provided later in the semester.
  • Attendance of a dance and/or movement performance. A 3 page typewritten critical description of what you saw and your honest reaction to the various dances is required. You will need to attach your ticket stub and program to the report. All papers must be typed. I will not accept handwritten or late papers.
  • Final Examination, Tuesday, May 3, 12:30pm-2:30pm, Rend 227. You will be given the test questions and study guide two weeks in advance of the test date to help you prepare. Study groups are highly recommended to prepare for this exam.
    NOTE: All papers must be original. Quotes and paraphrased ideas must be properly cited. Any student caught plagiarizing or purchasing a paper from an outside source (i.e., Internet) will receive an "F" for the course.
Writing Assignments 60
Field Observation-Due 4/21 60
Research Paper-Due 3/31 60
Discussion 30
Final Exam-5/3 50
Performance Critique 10
Total 250
250-240 = A
239-229 = A-
229-220 = B+
219-210 = B
209-200 = B-
199-190 = C+
189-180 = C
179-170 = C-
169-165 = D+
164-160 = D
159-155 = D-
154-000 = F
A=exceptional work, demonstrating consistently excellent performance in terms of skill, growth, participation, attendance, theoretical and aesthetic understanding.
B= very good to outstanding work most of the time demonstrating a high degree of excellence in performance in terms of skill, growth, participation, attendance, theoretical and aesthetic understanding, particularly as the term progresses.
C=fundamental mastery of skill, steady growth, good participation, appropriate attendance, basic theoretical and aesthetic understanding.
D=performance marred by lapses in attendance, attention, attitude or missing course work.
F=performance interrupted by significant absence or failure to complete expected course work.
Performance Response Guidelines